5 things to know about Ohio State’s thrashing of Maryland

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Antonio Williams #26 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates in the end zone with Thayer Munford #75 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after scoring on an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Maryland 62.14. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Caption
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7: Antonio Williams #26 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates in the end zone with Thayer Munford #75 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after scoring on an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Maryland 62.14. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Credit: Jamie Sabau

Credit: Jamie Sabau

Ohio State turned another game into a laugher early Saturday against Maryland, but it was still an eventful afternoon at the Horseshoe.

Here are five things to know about the Buckeyes' 62-14 win:

1. The Ohio State offense keeps getting hotter. 

Maryland does not have a good defense, but what the Buckeyes have done over the past month would be impressive against anybody.

They posted 584 total yards against Maryland, including 281 on the ground and 303 through the air, while gaining 33 first downs.

Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in four straight games for the first time since the national championship season of 2014.

GAME STORY: Ohio State handles Maryland with ease

Eight different Buckeyes scored touchdowns on offense, including J.T. Barrett, who had a hand in four touchdowns. Jerome Baker returned a fumble forced by Nick Bosa for a touchdown.

Baker’s scoop-and-score was Ohio State’s first since 2015.

“Out of nowhere I saw Nick Bosa doing Nick Bosa things, seen the ball, scooped it up and ran as fast as I could,” Baker said.

2. The defense was even more impressive. 

Maryland came in with some positives on offense, but hardly any of them were apparent at Ohio Stadium.

The Terrapins narrowly missed posting the fewest total yards for an Ohio State opponent since Michigan had 27 in the famous “Snow Bowl” of 1950.

A late 27-yard touchdown drive set up by a fumble left Maryland with 66 total yards, the fewest for an Ohio State opponent since Indiana had 60 in 1960. Maryland’s 16 passing yards are the fewest for an OSU opponent since Wisconsin had none in a game in 1989.

However, Baker stopped short of declaring this a championship-quality defense yet.

“We have so much to improve on, so much to do,” Baker said. “We’re definitely improving every week, and that’s good to see.”

3. Special teams were a disaster for Ohio State. 

Urban Meyer grunted his disapproval when the topic of special teams came up in his postgame interview.

No wonder: The Buckeyes gave up a kick return for a touchdown, had another kickoff go out of bounds, botched a PAT kick attempt and had a field goal blocked.

Freshman punter Drue Chrisman also shanked one of his attempts early in the game.

"We're the only team in the country that can't kick the ball down the field. It's something I have to strongly evaluate and find out why,” said Meyer, who replaced Blake Haubeil with Sean Nuernberger as his kickoff specialist against Maryland.

“And then obviously kick return, you know, part of our kickoff, a big part of our kickoff is kick the ball on target. And we're not on target, so that's something to work on and get fixed. And there's a lot of people upset about that and I'm one of them.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Ohio State football coach happy with the offense but not special teams

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

4. Offensive line issue? 

There was some bad news for the offense, too, as Branden Bowen was lost for the season to a broken leg early in the game.

The sophomore won the job in the preseason over a group including Matthew Burrell, who replaced him Saturday.

This will be a situation to monitor going forward was Meyer said just this past week he is still not happy with the depth on the offensive line.

“Keep Branden Bowen in your prayers,” Meyer said after the game. “I think he’s going to have surgery tomorrow, broken leg. Clean break, and so just gotta get him healthy and get him back.

Next man up, right now looks like Matt Burrell. And we'll see if there's any competition at that spot. That's alarming, but Matt played okay. So we'll see what happens there.”

5. Targeting is a big problem for college football. 

Ohio State’s blowout was also marred by a targeting call on cornerback Denzel Ward.

He was flagged after violently separating the ball from Maryland’s Taivon Jacobs, but replays seemed to show the contact should have been legal and fans of both teams cried foul on social media.

Meyer said he had not seen that hit, but the one that earned cornerback Damon Arnette an early exit in the second half happened in front of the head coach.

He was tossed for hitting Maryland quarterback Max Bortenshlager with a forearm in the head, though it was hard to judge Arnete’s intent because a late decision by the quarterback to slide left him in no-man’s land.

While making the game safer is an important task, the rule leaves confused players, coaches and fans in its wake seemingly every week.

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